Market Value

Setting out to discover if Manhattan's fleas really bite

The goods here are what you could mildly term eclectic; along with genuine collectibles, there are vegetables and underpants, handmade hemp seed soap, smocked silk scarves from India, and fake Balenciaga bags.

And then there's Larry. Everything on Larry's crazy table is $3 or less. Today, Larry's down-market treasures include a pig cookie jar and a book of superstitions, but there's such a crowd around his table that I decide to try my luck inside I.S. 44, where I soon stop taking notes and even forget, almost, that I'm in a school. I am entranced by the display of what appear to be a thousand and one tie tacks. I love the table of unframed plant and animal prints for $5 and $10 and the antediluvian National Geographic magazines. Then I see that shimmering flapper dress, which, it turns out, is a mere $200.

Flea market on 39th St. and 9th Ave.
Kate Lacey
Flea market on 39th St. and 9th Ave.


The Fleas

Most markets get going at about 9 a.m. and start winding down by 4 p.m.

Saturday only: Greenflea market, East 66th Street between First and York avenues (P.S. 183)

Sunday only: Greenflea market, Columbus Avenue and West 76th Street (I.S. 44)

Both Saturday and Sunday:
Chelsea Antique Collectible Flea Market, Sixth Avenue and 17th Street
The Garage, West 25th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues
The Grand Bazaar, West 25th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Annex/Hellís Kitchen Market, Ninth Avenue and West 39th Street

Furtively checking the amount of cash I have on hand, it suddenly strikes me that New York is maybe not such a bad flea-market town after all. If you could just string all our sites together—the raffish Chelsea venues, the wonderful Garage, the valiant 39th Street market and the two schoolyards—you'd have a venue that could bill itself without shame as a miniature, metropolitan version of the Rose Bowl.

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